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Avant-garde improv guitar and bass extraordinaire Brian Kastan is the most exciting musician you’ve never heard of – until now

Brian Kastan
(Image credit: Brian Kastan)

One of the compositions on Brian Kastan’s newest album, Soul Reveal, is titled “If I Were a Rock Star.” By all accounts, the multi-talented artist certainly should be one – and so much more.

The New York-based musician has not only amassed a catalog of 31 – yes, 31 – solo albums, but on many of them, including Soul Reveal, he plays both guitar and electric/fretless bass, as well as serves as band leader, composer and producer. (Kastan is also an author and digital landscape photographer, but that’s a story for another article...)

Of course, talking about Kastan merely in the rock idiom would be selling him incredibly short. His music traverses everything from funk and jazz to heavy groove and wild avant-garde improvisations, and he presents it all in a variety of formats, from acoustic duets to electric fusion trios and quartets.

What’s more, Kastan has composed soundtracks for film and television, and played alongside a wide range of artists, including Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Miles Griffith.

His diverse resume results from his ability to play virtually any style of music on guitar or bass, as well as his impressive original improv and composition styles, highlighted by a self-developed hybrid fingerpicking guitar technique and deep-in-the-pocket bass grooves.

Each one of Kastan’s 31 albums approaches his music from a stylistically fresh angle, but Soul Reveal might be the most engaging example yet of his idiosyncratic, highly improvisational style. He credits the album to the Brian Kastan 2 Trio, and it features Kastan playing guitar and bass at the same time, with Peter O’Brien on drums. 

The collection is defined by a funky, hard-hitting sound defined by electric and fretless bass grooves and loops with guitar layered on top, and was recorded by Kastan at Continuum Fine Art & Photography, his art gallery and music performance space in Greenwood Lake, New York.

Brian Kastan

(Image credit: Brian Kastan)

What’s more, Kastan will be performing with the Brian Kastan 2 Trio at Continuum on August 28, September 25 and October 30. And even as Kastan stays busy onstage and in the studio – amazingly, he says he has several more new albums in the works for 2021 – he’s also open and available to collaborate with other creative musicians.

For more on Brian Kastan, head to his official website.

Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.